rudiments of homogeneity, are a mere handful of Europeans, who
receive singularly little co-operation from iheir Indian colleagues
to ^vhom, in increasing measure, they have handed over power*
Blame us, if you will, but blame us for not achieving miracles.
That is the only charge to which we need honestly plead guilty.
3I«*vt of the British failures in India—and nobody suggests that
there have not been failures—have been due to an excess of gentle-
ness rather than to an abuse of strength. We have known the right
thing to do but we have not always done it, for fear of offending
Indian susceptibilities.1 The Bengal famine might never have
happened if the thinly scattered ranks of British officials had been
able to count on the co-operation of a large number of educated
Indians, acquainted wuh ti.e intracaeies cf local agriculture and
village life. Xo such body existed. True, there were thousands
of unemployed graduates in the big cities \\ho would have been
perfectly fitted Tor the work, but they refused to contemplate it.
It -\\ as coo dull, irksome, and disagreeable : it was much better left
to the British. They preferred to eke out a scanty livelihood as
' hangers-on at the law courts, hack journalists, stenographers, and
even errand-boys. Once the average Indian graduate has escaped
from his village, wild horses will not drag him back again.
Well, somebody will have to drag him back again if the rural
districts are ever to show any advance in education, agriculture,
sanitation, and the rudimentary decencies of life. We might have
dragged him back ourselves, if we had had the courage to pass an
act compelling the Indian graduates to spend at least a year or
two, after obtaining their degree, in studying rural administration.
We did not possess the courage, and now that we have granted
provincial autonomy, we no longer possess the power. This vital
act will have to be passed by the Indians themselves.
And then, the sparks will begin to fly.
I repeat, the only charge to which we need plead guilty is the
1The classic example of this tendency is afforded by suttee, the appalling
custom by which high caste Hindu women burned themselves to death on the
funeral pyres of their husbands. We wanted to abolish this fifty years earlier than
^ve did, but refrained from doing so because* of our traditional policy of non-inter-
lerence with national institutions. Incredible as it may sound, many high caste
Hindus still deplore the abolition of suttee, I have heard them refer, with wistful
regiet, to the grand old days when women had *tie courage of true lore.' If the
British quit India it is a fairly safe bet that suttee will return.